Actual vs Adjusted

Actual vs Adjusted

As of May 1st, Miss Nell is 4 months actual, 1 month adjusted. I get a lot of questions about her ‘adjusted age’. It can be a bit confusing, so I’ll do my best to explain it.


Babies that are born at 37-40 weeks are considered full-term babies and will not have an adjusted age. But babies that are born before 37 weeks will have an actual age and an adjusted age.

The baby’s actual age (real age) is calculated from their birthday. The baby’s adjusted age is calculated from their due date. Since babies need about 40 weeks to grow and develop an adjusted age takes into account the time missed due to premature delivery. So, since Nell’s due date was April 1st, on that day her age was 3 months actual, 0 days adjusted. I can’t imagine pushing her out at this size! Women are amazing!


The adjusted age is what her doctors will use when they’re doing any assessments or telling us what to do for food. Typically, babies will start eating solids or baby food as a a complement to formula or breastmilk. Since Nell was premature we probably won’t start giving her anything else until she’s 7 months actual, 4 months adjusted, which is August 1st.

It’s a lot of information. And it gets a little mucky when we’re trying to figure out milestones and other developmental things. I have spent a lot of time reading about when babies typically do things like roll over, smile, sit up, etc. One of the things we have access to right now is an infant educator to help us with her development. She did a virtual assessment as told us that there were a few things where she was at a newborn development level and other things where she was at a 3 month old development level.

The average baby rolls over, tummy to back, around 3 1/2 to 4 months old. Nellie rolled over for the first time at just about 4 months actual, 1 month adjusted. So, for this she’s closer to her actual age than her adjusted age.

Nell hasn’t begun smiling because we tickle or play with her, yet. She also hasn’t really found her voice. BUT she is holding her head up much like a 4-month-old baby and she’s beginning to steady her head, as well. She’s putting some weight on her legs/feet when we hold her up. The American Pregnancy Association provides information on when babies will ‘typically’ begin to do certain things. So, you can see where she’s a mix of her actual and adjusted age where her development is concerned.

I try not to compare Nell to the average baby because, let’s be honest, she’s nothing like the average baby. We call her our baby dictator because she decides everything. And I don’t even care because she’s amazing! She’s healthy and she’s thriving. Bryan and I have been so blessed.

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